How Do You Know If You Are Sensitive To Sugar Alcohol
The best way to tell if sugar alcohols raise your blood glucose is to test your blood sugars. Buying a blood sugar meter is probably the best $20-$40 you can ever spend.
As much as the literature and research show that many sugar alcohols, such as erythritol, have zero impact on blood sugars, anecdotally I have had hundreds of readers reach out to say it affects them.
How To Improve Your Nutrition With Net Carbs
Even though low carb diets are popular and can be successful in promoting weight loss and improving overall health, many carbohydrates provide rich sources of nutrition – especially fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Using net carbs can allow additional room in your low carb diet for more nutrition from healthy carbs including:
What Do Sugar Alcohols Mean In Carb Counting
Carb counting is a type of diet usually used by people who have diabetes to help control blood glucose . The goal of carb counting is to eat a limited amount of carbohydrates at each meal because carbohydrates are broken down into glucose in the blood. Carbohydrates come from grains, starches and sugar. Sometimes sugar alcohols are used as a sugar substitute to lower the amount of carbohydrates in a food.
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The Bottom Line: Should You Count Net Carbs
Net carbs are essentially the carbohydrates that your body is able to digest and use as fuel.
When calculating net carbs, one subtracts the fiber and sugar alcohols from the total carb count, since these are not considered digestible carbs.
There are advantages and disadvantages to counting net carbs, but ultimately, the choice is up to you. If you are already counting carbs, you may now choose to count net carbs as it allows you to consume a greater variety of foods and higher amounts of fiber.
For some, counting net carbs may lead to higher blood sugar levels than expected. If this is the case, and especially if you have diabetes, you may decide that tracking total carbohydrates makes more sense for you. If you are taking any medication or insulin to manage diabetes, be sure to talk to your diabetes care team to determine the best way for you to count carbohydrates for your treatment goals.
What Are Sugar Alcohols
If you havent come across the term sugar alcohols before, they are naturally present in certain fruits as well as being man-made by processing regular sugars.
Although sweet like natural sugars, their molecular structure differs making sugar alcohols harder to absorb and digest. This is why they are lower in calories and therefore often added to foods that are marketed as sugar-free or no sugar added.
While added to food, they are also commonly found in other items such as sugar-free chewing gum, medications, laxatives, and toothpaste!
The common sugar alcohols that most of us are familiar with, especially when trying to find sugar alternatives, include:
Two more common sugar replacements are stevia and monk fruit. These are NOT sugar alcohols. They are natural sweeteners made from plants. These common keto sweeteners are popular amongst those who have had digestive problems with sugar alcohol but still want sugar substitutes.
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Why The Type Of Sugar Alcohol Matters
Sugar alcohols are alcohols derived from sugar – but don’t worry, they won’t make you drunk! They are widely used in the food industry to improve a products’ viscosity and sweetness, but they also occur naturally. Nowadays, they are well known for their sweetening properties, while carrying fewer calories than classic table sugar. Some, like erythritol, don’t even contain any calories! That’s because our bodies cannot break them down properly. As these alcohols have different chemical structures, the degree to which we can break them down varies. Therefore, some of them are worth counting as net carbs, while some are not. The following sugar alcohols will pass through you without being digested, and therefore do no count towards net carbs:
However, don’t think that you can eat those sweeteners to your hearts content, as excessive consumption can cause gastrointestinal discomfort.The rest of the sugar alcohols are counted towards the net carbs result only partially, that’s why we need to divide their weight by 2.
How To Calculate Net Carbs In Whole Foods
Since whole foods contain natural fibers, calculating net carbs is simple. All you have to do is subtract the fiber grams from the total carbs, and there you have it: the net carbs!
The best place to look for this information is the USDA FoodData Database.
The formula for calculating net carbs in whole foods is:
- Net carbs = total carbs fiber
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How To Use Sugar Alcohols
Sugar alcohols are often confused with natural sugars. The key differences are that they contain no calories and that they are not as sweet as sugars. There are two main types of sugar alcohols: polyols and alditols. Some common polyols include: sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol, and maltitol. Some common alditols include: erythritol, stevia, and erythritol.
Total Carbs Vs Net Carbs
Whether youre following the Atkins® Diet, the Ketogenic Diet, Paleo or just trying to limit your carbs, experts will tell you its important to track and limit how many carbs youre eating.
Butif you ask them how you should count your carbs? Well, thats a whole different story.
There are two opinions here.
- Count the total carbs you consume
- Only count the net carbs you consume
The basic idea behind counting net carbs versus total carbs is that not all carbs are created equally, and therefore, will be used by your body differently.
While everybody is unique, many people find tracking net carbs to be a helpful way to reach their goals.
Before we jump in and learn what net carbs are and how to calculate them, lets go over the basics.
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Knowing your carb intake can make the difference between staying in ketosis or not.Before you start thinking that all carbs are the same, you should know that certain carbs dont have the same impact on your blood sugar compared to others and they may affect which carbs count towards your daily intake.
This article discusses net carbs, how they differ from total carbs, how to calculate your net carbs, and their role in promoting weight loss.
How Do I Calculate Net Carbs
To calculate net carbs, you should:
Net carbs = total carbohydrates – fiber – .
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If You Exercise A Whole Lot
People who exercise a ton or are looking to add more carbohydrates to their daily diet to ensure they properly fuel up and replenish their bodies may also want to calculate and reference their net carb intake, says Kimball. Since they’re exercising for several hours at a moderate to high intensity every single day, these folks may need to consume up to 5.4 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight daily to amp up their glycogen stores , according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Nosh primarily on foods with a low amount of net carbs, and you might not give your body the glucose it needs to power through those tough workouts. By paying attention to net carbs, these athletes can ensure they’re properly fueling up on carbohydrates that can be used for energy not just ones that move through their systems undigested.
Are Sugar Alcohols Subtracted From Total Carbs
Sugar alcohols are used to sweeten lots of low-carb, keto-friendly, and sugar-free food products. Sugar alcohols are processed in a similar fashion to fiber, with a few key differences. Your small intestine only partially absorbs many of the sugar alcohols. Studies show the small intestine absorbs 2-90% of sugar alcohols, but some are only briefly absorbed into the bloodstream before being excreted in urine.
Sugar alcohols can have different effects on insulin levels and blood sugar, but these effects are still significantly lower than sugar. For example, the glycemic and insulin index of glucose is 100. By comparison, the sugar alcohol erythritol has a glycemic index of 0 and an insulin index of 2. Another commonly used sugar alcohol, xylitol has a glycemic index of 13 and an insulin index of 11. Maltitol has an insulin index of 27 and a glycemic index of 35.
Maltitol is often used in processed foods, like sugar-free candy and low-carb protein bars. Its partially absorbed in the small intestine, and bacteria ferment the rest in the colon. Maltitol contributes around 3-3.5 calories per gram, compared to 4 calories per gram for sugar.
When it comes to net carbs and sugar alcohols, the best choice seems to be erythritol. Around 90% of erythritol is absorbed in the small intestine and then excreted in urine. The other 10% is fermented to SCFAs in your colon, so its essentially free of calories and carbs and unlikely to cause or exacerbate digestive issues.
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Dont Focus On Counting Carbs Too Much
It is good to know where you stand on net carb intake. It can help people who use insulin avoid hypoglycaemia. Its also a good way to learn about food to expand your range of choices and increase fibre intake. But dont obsess over it. Counting carbs can never be 100% accurate. There will always be individual differences in digestion and food preparation. Plus, it can create a false sense of security which leads people to overindulge on sugar free and low carb treats. Always keep your diet balanced and rich in whole foods no matter the number of carbs!
Whats the takeaway? Its simple, focus on choosing foods that are low in digestible carbs and rich in fibre. And if you go for sugar alcohols as a sweetener make sure its erythritol. You can count on Lizza that all bestsellers fit this description!
Health Bonuses Of Polyols
If you can tolerate the gut rumbling associated with polyols, they provide health benefits in addition to blood sugar management.
Most polyols feed the gut with prebiotic fibers that improve the flora and microbiota. Also, as they are broken down, the colon creates short-chain fatty acids like butyrate, acetate, propionate that are very beneficial to overall health.
SCFA encourage a strong metabolism, immunity, and brain health, and they are anti-inflammatory.
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Net Carbs Dont Seem Like Much
Youre right, 20 net carbs isnt a lot, and they can add up quickly.
This is why it is important to look at the net carb value for each meal youre eating. The best way to handle this is to make your own MEAL PLAN. By planning out your meals, you can tally up your days totals and you have the added benefit of knowing what youre eating for each meal.
Or, just come back as needed and use the keto Net Carb Calculator.
Summary Of Polyol Health Pros And Cons
The health positives of sugar alcohols/polyols are:
- Facilitate healthy blood glucose levels and prevents spikes
- Reduce calories and insulin secretion to help with weight management
- Provide prebiotic fiber for healthy gut microbiome
- Create Short-Chain Fatty Acids that improve metabolism, brain health, immunity, and fight inflammation
- Act as antioxidants scavenging free radicals
- Prevent cavities and boost oral health
- Promote bone health
Plus, polyols/sugar alcohols have been extensively studied and tested and found to be safe to consume.
The health problems of these sweeteners are:
- Digestive irritation like bloating, gas, and diarrhea
- Restricted and problematic use for IBS symptoms and people sensitive to FODMAPs
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Whats The Difference Between Net Carbs And Total Carbs
So how do we know the difference between net carbs vs total carbs? Total carbohydrates represent the total number of all carbohydrates in a food. But, net carbohydrates refers to the portion of total carbohydrates in a food that can/will actually impact blood sugar levels. As youll see below, not all carbohydrates impact blood sugar levels.
How Many Net Carbs Should You Eat
The best way to tailor how many carbs to eat is to use a macro calculator. Select keto or low carb depending on the diet you want to follow, as well as your goal of weight loss, gain, or maintenance. The calculator will tell you how many carbs to eat.
Learn more about the benefits of going keto or low carb with this keto beginners guide. You can also get handy that include the most important info about net carbs, foods to eat, keto swaps for carb-filled foods, and more.
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Calculating Net Carbs From Fiber
Most fiber can be completely subtracted from the total carbs listed on the nutrition label.
If you live outside the US, the total carbohydrate line already has the fiber removed and listed separately.
However, if the fiber isomaltooligosaccharide is in the ingredients list, subtract only half of the fiber carbs.
The Benefits Of Tracking Net Carbs Instead Of Total Carbs
This method of carb-tracking recognizes that not all carbs are the same. That’s because some are indigestible and won’t affect your blood sugar. So if you’re restricting the number of carbs you eat, counting net carbs allows you to choose more thoughtfully. Simply put: You’ll be able to eat a variety of satiating foods while still hitting your target carb or blood sugar levels.
Consider these perks that might convince you to board the net-carb bandwagon.
- You’ll likely eat more nutrient-dense foods: “Tracking net carbs can help someone enjoy a larger and more filling amount of carbs at a meal,” Dylan Murphy, RD, LDN and owner of Dylan Murphy Nutrition. She compares a medium-sized pear to a granola bar both may have a similar number of total carbs, but the pear has fewer net carbs and more fiber. This, Murphy says, can keep you full longer and prevent a spike in blood sugar.
- You’ll focus on getting more fiber: “The advantage of tracking net carbs instead of total carbs is you don’t factor fiber into your carb count for the meal. Fiber is processed differently in our bodies than carbs are,” says Murphy. Therefore, people may opt for higher fiber foods and focus on slashing sugar from their diet.
- You’ll eat less sugar: Focusing on high-fiber foods that are low in net carbs means you’ll nix the amount of sugar and starches you eat on the daily.
Want to Track Net Carbs Without Doing the Math?
A Note on Sugar Alcohols
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How To Calculate Net Carbs When You Are On A Keto Diet
If you are following a keto diet, then you must be wondering how to calculate net carbs as the Ketogenic diet is the amalgamation of low carbs and high-fat meals, and if you dont take care of your carb intake, it will not help you much in your diet goals.
Knowing the number of carbs in your everyday diet is an essential element when you aim to calculate the net carbs you are getting from a particular meal. After all, a product does not only contain the number of carbs, it is a mixture of sugar alcohols, fiber, and preserved flavors, etc. So you have to pay attention to what ingredients contain carbohydrates in a meal.
In this guide, we will discuss how to calculate net carbs, what net carbs are, and why they matter?
Food Uses Of Sugar Alcohols
As mentioned earlier, polyols are found in sugar-free gums, mints, and hard candies because of their oral health benefits. Plus, when you suck on them, your mouth feels cool and refreshed.
In addition, they are in many other foodstuffs like frostings, canned fruit, yogurt, and more. Of course, granulated varieties are fine in a sugar bowl.
Youll also find polyols added to food supplements, protein bars, and meal replacement drinks to reduce the number of carbohydrates they contain.
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How To Calculate Net Carbs For Keto
Wondering how to count carbs and stay in ketosis? Use this manual net carb calculator:
Grams of total carbs fiber sugar alcohols = Net carbs
Heres one important element to factor into your net carb formula: Not all sugar alcohols are truly carb-free.
Some sugar alcohols can actually kick you out of ketosis because they have a high glycemic load. However, certain manufacturers selling low-carb or sugar-free foods will subtract those sugar alcohols from the total carb count. This makes products appear lower-carb than they actually are. Yikes.
On the other side of things, manufacturers will sometimes list sugar alcohols that dont affect your blood sugar as if they were normal carbs, making net carb counts seem higher than they actually are.
So, how are you supposed to calculate net carbs for keto? Know your sugar alcohols.